ACT: Commercial Vehicle Demand Starts New Year on a Weak Pace

According to ACT Research, for the month of January, 36,400 Classes 5-8 vehicle orders were booked, marking the third lowest volume of the past eight months.

“Economic reports over the course of January were broadly disappointing, with industrial-related data points particularly soft,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Ongoing weakness in the freight intensive manufacturing sector continued to weigh on capacity utilization following a year in which Class 8 tractor retail sales fell just short of an all-time record. As a result of the soft supply-demand environment, the lackluster Class 8 order trend that started in late 2015 continued into 2016.”

At 18,200 units in January, NA Class 8 net orders were down 48% in comparison to January of 2015. Additionally, January volume was off 35% versus December. January’s orders are the second lowest intake since mid-2012.

The slow but steady trend that has been in evidence for the past several years continued with January’s medium-duty orders. While down 19% from December’s above-trend order volume, January’s Classes 5-7 net orders rose nearly 3% compared to a year-ago to 18,200 units.

“As January is not typically a strong order month, seasonal adjustment boosts the month’s order volume to 19,200 units, a decline of only 10% from December and almost exactly in-line with the 12-month order average of 19,300 units [per] month,” Vieth said.

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